New England and Tom Brady made enough progress in talks aimed at a long-term contract extension that some believe a deal could be completed this summer, according to sources familiar with the situation.
If a deal cannot be struck, it will be primarily because of how complex the contract is and how difficult it is to complete it without knowing the specifics of the NFL's next collective bargaining agreement.
But one person familiar with the talks said there is ongoing dialogue that he described as positive and, while no deal is imminent, one now is within reach.
When Brady and the Patriots resolve any differences - and the question now is when - it is expected to be the type of notable deal for which the league has been preparing for.
The Colts would like to re-sign quarterback Peyton Manning, the Saints Drew Brees and the Redskins Donovan McNabb. At this time, the Patriots and Brady appear to be the furthest along in their conversations, according to league sources.
It also goes against some recent dialogue. Speculation has persisted this month that Brady could hold out, but two sources dismissed the notion this weekend, insisting it will not happen.
There also was speculation that the relationship between Brady and the Patriots is strained. Yet, Brady was spotted this offseason having dinner with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others have been adamant that the relationship between the two sides is as positive as ever.